Washington: “I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work,” Biden said on Tuesday after Neera Tanden accepted defeat in her bid for Senate confirmation as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
After a week of desperate attempts by Biden and Democrat leaders to get at least one Republican senator to defect and vote for her, she wrote to Biden, reports IANS, “Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities.”
The post of the director of the OMB is one of the most powerful in the US as the official oversees the crafting of the $5 trillion US budget for all the departments and vets policies and appointments.
She would have been the second Indian-American to be in the US cabinet, the first being Republican Nikki Haley, who was in former President Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Biden can appoint Tanden to a senior position in the White House which would not need Senate approval, unlike cabinet and some senior jobs.
This was the first defeat for Biden in getting a nominee through the Senate and it had been expected from the time she was one of his first nominations in November shortly after his election because of her volatility.
After Democrat Senator Joe Manchin announced that he will not vote for Tanden citing her venomous tweets and statements, her confirmation in the evenly divided Senate was in doubt.
After some Republican straddlers had refused to vote for her, the Democrat’s last hope was Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, but she would not commit to supporting her either.
Tanden, who is close to Hilary Clinton and advised her campaign, had also attacked Leftist Senator Bernie Sanders who had run against her for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.
Several Democrats have said that Republicans went along with Donald Trump, who was known for his mean tweets, but were now setting a very high standard for Tanden.
Biden has appointed over 20 Indian-Americans to senior positions, but not all of them require Senate confirmation.